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Dinosaurs of southern Europe, illustration. The dinosaurs shown here range from large sauropods, to bipedal theropods and winged bird-like dinosaurs. Some are herbivores, while others are carnivorous predators and scavengers. This scene is from the Jurassic, 201 to 145 million years ago.

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Dinosaurs of southern Europe, illustration. The dinosaurs shown here range from large sauropods, to bipedal theropods and winged bird-like dinosaurs. Some are herbivores, while others are carnivorous predators and scavengers. This scene is from the Jurassic, 201 to 145 million years ago.

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Prehistoric rails, illustration. Rails are wetland birds that feed on vegetation, insects and small invertebrates in reed beds and marshes. These extinct prehistoric species are known from the fossil record found on the Atlantic islands of the Azores and Madeira. They are, from left to right: Rallus carvaoensis (from Sao Miguel Island in the Azores), Rallus adolfocaesaris (from Madeira), Rallus montivagorum (from Pico Island in the Azores), Rallus lowei (from Madeira), and Rallus minutus (from Sao Jorge Island in the Azores). This is an example of evolution acting to produce divergent changes in different island populations.

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Prehistoric hominin females, illustration. From left to right: Flores Man (Homo floresiensis), Cro-Magnon (European Early Modern Humans or EEMH, Homo sapiens sapiens), and Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis). Flores Man fossils from between 95,000 and 13,000 years ago were found in 2003 in Indonesia. This hominin was very small, just over a metre tall. Neanderthals inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. Both Flores Man and Neanderthals co-existed with Cro-Magnons, who emerged in Europe from around 35,000 years ago. Cro-Magnons became modern humans, but the other two went extinct.

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Neolithic man and settlement. Illustration of prehistoric humans living in a cliff-side settlement in Europe during the neolithic, the final part of the Stone Age. This period lasted from around 12,000 years ago to around 4500 BC. The man at right is holding a stone hand-axe, and has a knife in his belt, the blades of both tools being made from rocks such as flint. His clothes are made from animal skins. At left, the settlement consists of houses and livestock pens built into a cliff.

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Spear-thrower. Time-lapse motion capture illustration of a man using a spear-throwing device. This is sometimes known as an atlatl, from the word used by the Aztec culture in South America. Evidence for the use of spear-throwers dates from the Middle Palaeolithic (Middle Stone Age), with the earliest examples from around 20,000 years ago.

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Ape and Creation of Adam. Conceptual illustration of an ape (lower left) replacing Adam in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. This painting is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, Rome, Italy, and represents the story of the creation of Adam by God (upper right) in the Judeo-Christian religion. This replacement of Adam by an ape refers to humans and apes evolving from a common ancestor, as described by Darwin's theory of evolution (published in 1859). This caused a storm of controversy with Christian orthodoxy, as it contradicted the widely accepted belief that different animal and plant species were created by a divine creator (God).

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Comparison of hominid skull-jaw angles, illustration. Over millions of years, the fossil record shows changes in the angles of the skull in hominids, particularly those of the jaw and face. These changes are shown in this graph, with three modern ape species at right: chimpanzee, orangutan, and gorilla. Above these is the extinct hominid Homo erectus, part of the human evolutionary tree. At top right is a modern human (Homo sapiens). The face becomes progressively flatter as modern humans evolved. Modern humans uniquely have a flat face, high forehead, small jaw and jutting chin. Various theories have been suggested for the evolution of these traits, including the development of cooking and the social nature of humans.

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Darwin's speciation diagram. Illustration from of 'On the Origin of Species by means of natural selection', published in 1859 by the British naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882). Detailing his theory of evolution by natural selection, this is Darwin's most famous work. This diagram was the only illustration in his work. It is a tree diagram used to illustrate speciation (the formation of new species). Starting from the bottom, each horizontal line represents 1000 generations. The letters across the bottom represent different species. Some lineages go extinct. Others diverge as a result of natural selection to the extent that they are eventually classified as a new and distinct species.

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Waimanu manneringi, extinct penguin, illustration. Waimanu manneringi is the oldest known fossil penguin species. It lived the Middle Paleocene about 60 million years ago, several million years after the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction which killed the dinosaurs. It grew to up to a metre in height, and lived in what is now New Zealand, parts of which were below sea level during this period.

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Delphinornis larseni, extinct penguin, illustration. This Early Eocene species lived in Antarctica.

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Perudyptes devriesi extinct penguin, illustration. This species lived in the warm equatorial waters of what is now Peru in the Eocene Epoch, about 42 million years ago.

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Icadyptes salasi, extinct penguin, illustration. This extinct species of giant penguin lived in the Late Eocene tropics of South America. Standing about 1.5 metres tall, Icadyptes salasi is one of the largest penguin species found. It lived approximately 36 million years ago.

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Inkayacu paracasensis, extinct penguin, illustration. This extinct species of giant penguin lived in the Late Eocene tropics of South America. It was grey or reddish brown, about 1.5 metres tall, and lived approximately 36 million years ago.

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Palaeeudyptes gunnari, extinct penguin, illustration. This species lived in Antarctica from Middle to Late Eocene 34-50 million years ago.

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Kairuku waitaki, extinct penguin, illustration. This species of giant penguin lived in what is now New Zealand during the late Oligocene, going extinct around 25 million years ago. It was approximately 1.5 metres long.

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Paraptenodytes antarcticus, extinct penguin, illustration. This species lived in waters round Patagonia, Argentina in the Early Miocene Period, approximately 23-16 million years ago.

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Inguza predemersus, extinct penguin, illustration. This species lived in the Late Pliocene in waters around South Africa, from about 5 million years ago.

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Extinct and living penguin comparison. Illustration comparing the extinct species of penguin and modern penguins. From left to right; extinct species: Waimanu manneringi, Delphinornis larseni, Perudyptes devriesi, Icadyptes salasi (swimming, left), Inkayacu paracasensis, Palaeeudyptes gunnari, Kairuku waitaki, Paraptenodytes antarcticus (swimming, right), Inguza predemersus; and living species: the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus). The Emperor penguin is the largest of all living penguin species, at around 1.2 metres. However, some extinct species, such as Kairuku waitaki, grew to 1.5 metres, and certain species were even larger than this.

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Extinct and living penguin comparison. Illustration showing relative sizes, distribution, phylogenetic relationships and timeline of extinct and modern penguin species. From left to right: extinct species: Waimanu manneringi, Delphinornis larseni, Perudyptes devriesi, Icadyptes salasi (swimming, left), Inkayacu paracasensis, Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, Kairuku waitaki, Paraptenodytes antarcticus (swimming, right), Inguza predemersus; and living species: the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus). The Emperor penguin is the largest of all living penguin species, at around 1.2 metres. However, some extinct species, such as Kairuku waitaki, grew to 1.5 metres, and certain species were even larger than this.

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